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Origin of the New Year’s Resolution

23 December 2016

The New Year’s Resolution started 4,000 years ago where the Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year to return borrowed objects and pay their debts. However, their New Year was celebrated in March on occurrence of the first new moon where there was equal amount of sunlight and darkness.  

It wasn’t until Ancient Rome that the New Year was changed to January 1st.  January was named after Janus – the two-faced god whose spirit occupied doorways and arches. They believed that Janus symbolically looked backwards into the previous year and ahead into the future; hence the Romans offered sacrifices to the god and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.

For early Christians the first day of the New Year became a traditional occasion for thinking about how to resolve mistakes from the past year and how to be better in the future. They created the Covenant Renewal Service most commonly held on New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day, where they would spend their time celebrating the coming of the New Year and making resolutions.

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